The First Look: Wells Fargo Championship

With the Presidents Cup taking place at Charlotte’s Quail Hollow Club in September, this year’s Wells Fargo Championship has moved to TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm.

Two-time FedExCup winner Rory McIlroy headlines the field as he looks to defend his title from last season.

FIELD NOTES: Rory McIlroy tees it up for the first time since he fired a tidy final-round 64 at the Masters… Abraham Ancer returns to both an event (runner-up last year) and golf course (shares the course record) where he has displayed strong form… Morgan Hoffmann is back in action. Hoffmann, who missed the cut at the RBC Heritage, has two starts left on a medical extension and will need to earn 238.42 FedExCup points to maintain full TOUR status… Francesco Molinari, who won the last TOUR event contested at TPC Potomac (2018 Quicken Loans National), is set to tee it up… Among the sponsor exemptions are Ben Martin (runner-up at Corales Puntacana Championship in March) and Brandon Matthews (No. 3 on Korn Ferry Tour Points List)… Recent Wells Fargo Championship winners teeing it up include Max Homa (2019), Jason Day (2018), Brian Harman (2017), James Hahn (2016) and Rickie Fowler (2012)… Other notables at TPC Potomac include major winners Gary Woodland, Webb Simpson, Sergio Garcia and Patrick Reed.

FEDEXCUP: Winner receives 500 FedExCup points.

COURSE: TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm, par 70, 7,160 yards. This is a one-year departure from the Quail Hollow Club, as the North Carolinian club will play host to the Presidents Cup in September. TPC Potomac last hosted the PGA TOUR in 2018 and is a 21-time TOUR host. The course meanders through numerous creeks and streams – including the Rock Run Stream Valley, a main tributary of the Potomac River – and wooded terrain. The course boasts bentgrass tees, greens and fairways, as well as natural rolling land and Scottish-style bunkering. The course underwent a hearty renovation in 2015 prior to the TOUR’s return two years later.

STORYLINES: McIlroy enters the Wells Fargo Championship with plenty of good vibes. His last competitive round di lui, a 64 at Augusta National, was tied for the lowest Sunday score in Masters history. He comes to an event where he has finished outside the top-10 just twice in 10 starts. It’s a new golf course for 2022, but McIlroy has played well in the DC area before – he won the 2011 US Open, played at just-down-the-road Congressional Country Club, by eight shots… McIlroy will try to buck a trend at the Wells Fargo Championship, though, as there is yet to be a successful title defense at the event… Gregory Odom Jr., a senior standout at Howard University, will be making his PGA TOUR debut on a sponsor exemption. Howard, an HBCU, didn’t have a golf program two years ago. This year, led by Odom Jr., it captured its first MEAC Championship… Denny McCarthy is hoping for a hometown boost this week. McCarthy, who sits 49th on the FedExCup standings, attended grade school just nine miles away from TPC Potomac… TPC Potomac slides in to play host as preparations are well underway for the Presidents Cup at Quail Hollow in September. It will mark the first Presidents Cup since 2019 at Royal Melbourne in Australia.

72-HOLE RECORD: 267, Rory McIlroy (2015 – Quail Hollow)

18-HOLE RECORD: 61, Rory McIlroy (Round 3, 2015 – Quail Hollow)

LAST TIME: Rory McIlroy topped Abraham Ancer by one to win his first PGA TOUR title in 18 months. McIlroy, who revealed after his win of him that his neck of him locked up during his practice session and he nearly withdrew, made birdies on Nos. 14 and 15 at Quail Hollow on Sunday to pull away from the chasing pack. He held off a hard-charging Ancer, who shot a 5-under 66 on Sunday (the low round of the day). McIlroy stumbled home, taking a penalty on the 72nd hole, but he managed to scramble for bogey and notch the win on Mother’s Day – his first di lui as a parent. The win marked McIlroy’s third di lui at Quail Hollow (having won in 2010, his first TOUR title di lui, and in 2015). The runner-up was Ancer’s best TOUR result until he captured the WGC-FedEx St. Jude Invitational later in the year. Viktor Hovland and Keith Mitchell finished tied for third while Gary Woodland rounded out the top five.


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